An article appeared on the DR homepage on the 14th of July with the following headline: “Troede du Black Lives Matter-kampen var ny? Her er 13 numre, du skal høre for at forstå den sorte frihedskamp.”
We need a simple word or phrase for things that are done carelessly and thoughtlessly on the basis of lazy thinking and habit, or even just unconsidered assumptions, but without casting judgment on why they were done so. I need that word right now, to describe the conceit of suggesting you’re going to understand anything after listening to thirteen songs, much less something as complicated and tangled as the black experience in America. Especially if you were so out of touch as to think the BLM movement was new.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is not new, but listening to a baker’s dozen of songs—most of which you’ve probably already heard a few hundred times—isn’t going to educate you on that.
BLM was founded in 2013. It is therefore roughly seven years old. (Now you’re educated on that.) Only three of the thirteen songs in DR’s article were released in the time since BLM was founded.
I realize the phrase “Black Lives Matter-kampen” and the allusion to “den sorte frihedskamp” suggest that we’re supposed to be looking at the bigger picture, but it’s a lazy, clumsy, and misleading way to do that. Had the article been entitled, “Thirteen songs exploring the black experience in America,” it would have been accurate.
But it had to tie in to BLM to be relevant and timely and click-worthy. And so some DR web editor threw that headline together with the kind of lazy and indifferent thoughtlessness we so badly need a word for.
BLM has become one of those phrases (and acronyms) that means everything and nothing.
On the one hand, it is so powerful that people are losing their jobs for stating the anodyne platitude that “all lives matter.” (See here, or here, or this twitter thread on the phenomenon of people losing their livelihoods for contradicting or even inadequately supporting the movement.)
On the other hand, the founders of that movement’s formal organization describe themselves as Marxists and they have repeatedly and on the record stated their goals of disrupting the nuclear family and “liberating” the US and the world from capitalism, which issues may strike the neutral observer as having a very distant relation to the core “black lives matter” issues.
Very few people seem interested in talking about the Marxist orientation of the BLM organization. Marxism is older than BLM, but it is not intrinsic to the history of race relations in America. For the kind of perspective on the BLM movement you’re not likely to find on DR, try sampling a few videos by or featuring Brandon Tatum, maybe starting with this one:
That video’s especially interesting because it’s the red-pilled Officer Tatum being interviewed by David Rubin, a gay former progressive who was himself red-pilled in the course of an interview with Larry Elder, who is a black American intellectual you will not find being cited anywhere on DR.
According to the website BlackPast.Org (“dedicated to providing a global audience with reliable and accurate information on the history of African America and of people of African ancestry around the world”), the three co-founders of BLM were “Alicia Garza, a domestic worker rights organizer in Oakland, California; Patrisse Cullors, an anti-police violence organizer in Los Angeles, California; and Opal Tometi, an immigration rights organizer in Phoenix, Arizona.”
Those are the same three you’ll find listed as the co-founders on the BlackLivesMatter website, where you can also see more biographical detail.
They’re proud Marxists—you can Google any of their names and find interviews and articles where they talk about their Marxist backgrounds—and they’re also very clever Marxists, because they’ve somehow cast a magic spell of invulnerability over themselves and their policy goals: criticize them, as I’m doing here, and you will likely be accused of racism (as I likely will be).
Which I find interesting, because if you Google the names of Marx and Engels you can actually find some genuine racism: consider this extract from a 2017 Walter Williams column:
Marx had a racial vision that might be interesting to his modern-day black supporters. In a letter to Engels, in reference to his socialist political competitor Ferdinand Lassalle, Marx wrote:
“It is now completely clear to me that he, as is proved by his cranial formation and his hair, descends from the Negroes who had joined Moses’ exodus from Egypt, assuming that his mother or grandmother on the paternal side had not interbred with a n—–. Now this union of Judaism and Germanism with a basic Negro substance must produce a peculiar product.”
Engels shared Marx’s racial philosophy. In 1887, Paul Lafargue, who was Marx’s son-in-law, was a candidate for a council seat in a Paris district that contained a zoo. Engels claimed that Lafargue had “one-eighth or one-twelfth n—– blood.”
In a letter to Lafargue’s wife, Engels wrote, “Being in his quality as a n—–, a degree nearer to the rest of the animal kingdom than the rest of us, he is undoubtedly the most appropriate representative of that district.”
Now put yourself in the position of someone like myself, a non-racist individualist who believes that civilization is built up from the family, and not vice-versa, and who believes the thing we call “capitalism” (by which we usually simply mean the basic impersonal laws of transactional economics) is responsible for having done more to improve the human condition than anything else.
I can say that black lives matter, because they do. I can also say that all lives matter, because they do. But how can I support the BLM movement or organization, when their leadership is unapologetically Marxist and I don’t support Marxism? (Given the way a lot of BLM supporters appear to feel about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, I can’t help wondering when their Jacobin rage will be directed toward Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.)
But enough about BLM.
The second part of the headline is even more obnoxious: “Her er 13 numre, du skal høre for at forstå den sorte frihedskamp.”
“Her er 13 numre” is the only accurate part of the entire headline: the article does indeed include thirteen musical numbers.
But saying that you have to hear them to understand the black freedom struggle is ridiculous. It’s like saying you can’t understand economics without hearing Abba’s “Money, Money, Money,” — or the Napoleonic Wars without hearing “Waterloo.” Music is important, and history since the dawn of recorded media certainly comes with a soundtrack, but suggesting that a 13-song playlist is going to get anyone up to speed on American race relations is silly and cheap. And in conflating “the black freedom struggle” with Black Lives Matter, DR is doing the dirty work of BLM’s founders: lending legitimacy to Marxists by cloaking them in the mantel of “freedom fighters.”
There is nowhere on earth where “more Marxism” has produced more freedom. Not for anyone of any color, anywhere, ever. And true to their Marxist roots, the BLM organization is pumping out a flood of misinformation that’s being recirculated by the major American media, then dutifully promoted by foreign media like DR, without any scrutiny—as you’ll see when I get to the actual content of DR’s article.
Content which manages, by the way, to live up to the high standards of lazy and incomplete thinking established by the headline.
But this has already gotten too long, so I’ll get to that in another post.